12 January 2017
High-performance lubricant oils are critical to ensuring the efficient operation and durability of engine systems. The role of lubricant oils is further supplemented by additives, which are critical components to delivering excellent performance. Superior additive technology helps optimize engine performance, while simultaneously enhancing engine efficiency, durability, and energy conservation.
Mr Goa Feng, Infineum Zhangjiagang plant manager
Recently, General manager of Infineum ZJG plant, Mr. Gao Feng took an interview with us, on the matters of Infineum’s business development in China, its safety vision and local talents development. As one of the global leaders in transportation industry’s fuel and lubricant additives, Infineum drives the industry’s development in over 70 countries worldwide, supporting growth in local markets with powerful R&D capabilities, a guarantee of outstanding quality and a progressive vision for the future. Today, Infineum additives are used in one out of three vehicles worldwide.
Market Penetration Informed by Precise Insight into the Chinese Market’s Real Needs
Despite the global economic downturn, China still remains optimistic and full of vitality as its economy settles into a new normal. A wide variety of data shows that China's fuel and lubricant oil market is now one of the world's fastest growing and most dynamic.
In this competitive market, opportunities can be fleeting. Given the high-speed growth and complex demands of the Chinese market, Infineum believes that localisation is the only way forward. Over Infineum’s past decade of growth in China – from a representative office to a wholly owned enterprise – the company has never passed up the opportunity to expand distribution in China, which has necessitated the localisation of its technology, production, servicing, and product delivery for the Chinese market.
Infineum’s continuous investment in local technology development has also accelerated the pace of production and supply-chain localisation. In Dec 2013, Infineum (China) Investment Co., Ltd, was registered as wholly-owned foreign enterprise, located in ZJG, Jiangsu province. In April, 2014, Infineum hosted its plant ground breaking ceremony within Zhangjiagang International Chemical Industry Park. The Zhangjiagang plant, then officially commenced operations in March, 2016. As Infineum’s second wholly owned subsidiary in China, the plant occupies an area of 100,000 sqm, and is designed to meet the expanding requirements of a growing market. The Zhangjiagang plant has enhanced the reliability and stability of Infineum’s global manufacturing network as well as the company’s ability to help local customers achieve efficient supply chain management. Infineum’s excellent and consistent product quality also helps customers bring their performance to the next level.
“As the Chinese transportation market develops and matures, the focus of customers’ needs has begun to shift to fast and reliable product supply, open lines of communication, and satisfying service experiences,” said Mr. Gao. “As an integral part of Infineum’s global production network, the Zhangjiagang Plant was built to meet these needs, eliminating the distance when providing services to local customers, and thereby strengthening the company’s long-term relationships with customers in China and across the whole Asia-Pacific region.” Mr. Gao also believes the Zhangjiagang Plant lays a solid foundation for Infineum to enhance its production and ensure the supply of high-quality products to local markets.
Building a World-class Manufacturing Plant Founded on Safety
Health and safety are more than a policy at Infineum: they are the starting point and primary focus during the construction of each of its world-class manufacturing sites. This principle can be observed throughout the building of the Zhangjiagang plant as well as its current day-to-day operations.
Building on its extensive global experience, Infineum equipped the Zhangjiagang plant with the most reliable and advanced systems for safety, quality-assurance, and environmental protection. Beginning in the early planning stages of the Zhangjiagang project, the Infineum Project team worked with global experts to create robust management processes and ensure that health, safety and environmental concerns were prioritised in both design and execution. At the peak of the construction phase, Infineum set up a temporary office and construction site management office to oversee the safety of the hundreds of construction workers and onsite managers. The safety manger and construction manager conducted random, daily inspections together with the project manager, photographing onsite practices to be either recognised and rewarded at the end of the month or posted on the “Safety Wall” as a warning to stop risky behaviors. In addition, Infineum assigned staff with extensive experience from previous projects around the world to work together with the local Zhangjiagang team. These collective efforts contributed to an impressive safety record of 1.6 million man-hours without a recordable injury. “Of course, this is just a good start. With the smooth operation of the plant, we have confidence to carry on with this excellent safety record.” Gao Feng gave his comments.
Working closely with enterprises both upstream and downstream in the industry, as well as related administrative bodies, Infineum plays an active role in establishing industry standards designed to lead the sector down a path of healthy and sustainable development. As a member enterprise of the Associations of International Chemical Manufacturers (ACIM), Infineum is also actively involved in promoting responsible care and other globally recognised chemical-management initiatives in China aimed at furthering the sustainable development of China's chemical industry.
Developing Local Talent and Fortifying the Company’s Position in China
Competition for the top talent is becoming increasingly fierce in China. In such an environment, how can Infineum attract the best? According to Mr. Gao, to attract and retain talent, Infineum needs a way to identify employees that match its needs and impart Infineum’s corporate culture and values to them. Infineum is also seeking to create a bigger platform for personnel that enable them to achieve their true professional potential. Since the planning stage of the Zhangjiagang blending plant ̶ Infineum China has been successful at hiring local staff who possess professional expertise, localised insights and a global vision. The combination of an excellent local team and extensive global resources has proven to be powerful driver of local business growth over the course of Infineum’s development of operations in China.
Infineum has been successful at retaining talent due to the important role that corporate culture and values play at the company, which strives to give employees the broadest possible platform from which to realise their professional potential. Through its talent development program of “sending talent out and inviting experts in,” Infineum often sends Chinese staff to work in its overseas branches so as to integrate them into a global working environment; foreign experts are also invited to the China offices to share their extensive experience and advanced technical knowledge with local China-based teams. We see our Zhangjiagang plant as a great success in terms of cooperation on talent,” said Gaofeng. “Since the completion of construction, we’ve already sent two engineers to another Infineum plant in the United States. By working there, we hope they will have a greater sense of belonging in the company when they come back to China.”
“Infineum ZJG plant has been quite successful at attracting talent since we first began operations. In terms of retaining talent, we have a very low employee-turnover rate, which I am personally very proud of.”
Mr Gao Feng added in the end, “Infineum ZJG has reached many milestones in 2016. With the continuous business expansion in Asia-Pacific, Infineum resolves to provide highest standard services to our customers and satisfy the increasing demands from the market. Certainly, the future will continue to bring challenges us. We uphold our brand values of ‘Performance You Can Rely On.’ and believe that this will help us to always provide high quality and reliable product and service for our customers. We will continue our close collaboration with customers to achieve win-win outcomes together.”